“Westworld” Episode Review: “The Mother of Exiles” by Nate Blake

“The Mother of Exiles” saw the return of the Man in Black (Ed Harris) and delivered a few stunning revelations. It was also arguably the most action-packed episode of the season so far, but one that has me a little uneasy about the necessity of some characters moving forward.

Specifically, I don’t see the Man in Black having much of a role in future episodes and seasons. Maybe I’m wrong, but given what was confirmed about him in this week’s episode, that he is almost certainly a host and the real William was killed a long time ago, the hour might have been the Man in Black’s coda. I have looked forward to seeing him again all season. We all knew it was a given since Ed Harris is listed in the credits as a member of the cast. But the first three episodes were spectacular without him, and the plot seems to have moved beyond this character overall, much as it moved beyond Ford (Anthony Hopkins) by the midpoint of season two. I wouldn’t be shocked, if there is a season four of Westworld (there had better be), if Ed Harris is no longer part of the cast when it debuts. All of this said, I loved his scenes tonight. If the Man in Black has little presence in the show going forward, then “The Mother of Exiles” provided some needed closure on loose ends from season two.

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The biggest moment of the night was the reveal that Charlotte (Tessa Thompson), along with many other hosts working against Serac (Vincent Cassel), are actually clones of Dolores. I made several predictions last week as to who might be inhabiting Charlotte, but Dolores wasn’t one of them. I loved this twist though. Of course Dolores would do that. She has always been about her well-being and her thirst for revenge first. She doesn’t care that much about her fellow Delos hosts. Shame on me for almost buying in to her more sympathetic (until now) motivation this season. Caleb (Aaron Paul) is screwed.

This show is a mixed bag when it comes to action. Some of its weaker episodes are the spectacle minded ones, but there was a good balance this week. The sequence at the charity event, which was just a tidy looking sex auction, was well-choreographed and edited. I enjoyed the fight scene between Dolores and Ashley (Luke Hemsworth) as well as the banter between Ashley and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) that preceded it. However, I’m starting to feel that the writers aren’t sure what to do with Bernard anymore. I hope I’m wrong and there are great things in this characters’ future, but every week it seems like he is given bland duties that serve only to move plot forward. There has been little growth or complexity for Bernard this season, which is a shame because Dolores, Maeve, and Caleb have been so richly drawn week after week.

In terms of pacing, I really enjoyed how “The Mother of Exiles” built to its stunning revelation through a series a various heists. Two of these heists were action-filled sequences: Maeve infiltrating the Yazuka and Bernard and Ashley apprehending Liam (John Gallagher Jr.) from the charity sex auction. The other, Dolores and Caleb transferring funds from Liam’s bank account, was built around suspense. It was a brilliant move on the part of the show-runners to open the season with Dolores killing Gerald and later escaping from Martin and his men.  We know what she is capable of in the real world after that episode, so anytime there is even the slightest possibility that she will resort to violence, the audience is filled with dread.

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So, here we are. We’re halfway through season three, and for me at least, Westworld continues to deliver week after week. What are your thoughts on season three so far?

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